Showing posts from October, 2018

Finnish Focus On...Common Crane

Dinosaurs. They do exist. 
Common Crane is one of those species which epitomizes Finland, both visually and vocally.
On my first visit to Finland, in summer, over 5 years ago, the sound of this species captivated me.
Long summer evenings, spent enjoying good food, sauna and swimming, and listening to these beasts, Kruuurking and echoing over the forests.

Everything about this species is amazing, from their size and presence, to their migratory ability, and I have often enjoyed visiting various staging grounds throughout Europe over the years, encountering massive flocks as the move over they course of the year.
Spring is when we appreciate Cranes most I think. After a long winter, they come as a breath of fresh air, and there is a massive rush when you come across that first one in March, stood in a snowy field wondering what the hell it's doing here.

Baby Cranes are a real treat in mid summer, giant orange fluff balls roaming the Grasslands and Marshes, and looking even more din…

Into The Swing

We arrived back from Ireland late on Friday 12th and stayed over at the inlaws in Espoo.

This worked out surprisingly well, as just as we were about to leave the house to take Kuura for a walk, news came through of either a European or Siberian Stonechat just 15 mins walk up the road. Naturally we tailored our route to intercept.

We arrived to a large assembled crowd and I set up the scope and was delighted to see a crisp looking Siberian type.

There was some debate over the ID on site, with most there favouring European. However, just back from refreshing ourselves with hundreds in west Cork, I was happy the unmarked rump I had seen, combined with that neatly demarcated throat, put it firmly in the Sibe camp.

It was trapped later that evening and confirmed to be a young male Siberian (though will be interesting to see if Stejnegers is in the running).

Dozens of Waxwing were flycatching around the place whilst watching the Stonechat. The perfect reminder that you are back in Finland.

Review - To The Ends Of The Earth

I was kindly provided a copy, courtesy of Anthony McGeehan, of his latest publication: "To The Ends Of The Earth - Ireland's Place In Bird Migration", which was patiently waiting for me when I arrived in Dublin a couple of weeks ago.

I managed to delve straight into it, absorbing half of it with gusto the first evening. Visiting friends, parental duties and birding got in the way of the second half until this week, when it provided a fitting substrate for my commute reading.This is a fabulous book that every Irish birder should own. All too often birders obsess over the migration of birds and the timings and conditions of their occurrence in our country, without actually delving into the science and mechanisms of their amazing abilities, or the history and individuals who have worked to elucidate those mechanisms.

This book, perfectly and eloquently, attempts to tackle these concepts, without being dry and overly technical, in a manner I can only describe as the scientific…

Nordic Raid On Potatoland

With holidays built up demanding to be taken and relatives and friends clamouring to meet Lyra, we set off for a few days in Dublin and Cork.

Red Kites are now a regular feature around the old homestead.
After a week of meeting and greeting in Dublin, taking in all the sights and old haunts, we set off for Cork early on Saturday, arriving to a cold breeze at Ballynamona beach.

Lyra seeing the Atlantic for the first time.
A leisurely stroll down the beach to the lake produced no longer familiar birds, such as Stonechat, Shelduck and Sandwich tern, with the best on the lake in terms of scarce being a single adult winter Ruff.
From here it was on to Shanagarry to meet up with "Uncle Phil" for a badly needed coffee and some classic Irish apple tart. 
After imbibing caffeine and sugar and a good catch up, we stopped off at Ballinwillig, where a huge flock of gulls was following ploughing in the fields. More non-Finnish fare here in the form of a few Med gulls.
Tipping back towards…